Prominent Jews Back Iran Deal

More than two dozen prominent Jewish community figures signed an ad in today's New York Times urging Congress to support the Iran nuclear deal.

One of them is Thomas A. Dine, the longtime executive director of AIPAC, the group now leading the opposition to the agreement in conjunction with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Congressional Republicans. Many on the list have served on the AIPAC Executive Committee but are today estranged from the formerly-centrist organization, said Dine.

Among the signers are three former chairs of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, 10 former heads of many of its largest constituent organizations, three former Jewish members of Congress and nine prominent figures from the Federation world.

The ad quotes Admiral Ami Ayalon (ret), former head of Shin Bet, the Israeli Internal Security Service, and former chief of the Israeli navy, who said, "When it comes to Iran's nuclear capability, this [deal] is the best option."

Many "leading Israeli military, scientific and intelligence experts" share this view, said the ad.    

The focus is on 14 Democratic senators, including four Jews (Michael Bennet of Colorado, Ben Cardin of Maryland, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Ron Wyden of Oregon) who are either undecided or undeclared.  Two Democrats, Chuck Schumer of New York and Bob Menendez of New Jersey, have declared their opposition. 

Five Jewish senators have announced they will vote for the agreement: Barbara Boxer of California, Dianne Feinstein of California, Al Franken of Minnesota, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Brian Schatz of Hawaii.

All Republicans in both the House and Senate have come out against the agreement, most of them even while negotiations were going on and long before they even had a chance to read the document.  Only one seemed to waiver, Jeff Flake of Arizona, but he announced this week that he'll vote no.

Look for Jewish extremists to denounce the ad's signers are self-hating Jews and enemies of Israel. When 340 American rabbis sent a letter to members of Congress urging them to support the deal, the far right Zionist Organization of America denounced them, pointing out that one was a homosexual and many were supporters of groups like the J Street, left-leaning pro-peace/pro-Israel lobby which ZOA has denounced as hostile to Israel and sympathetic to Iran.

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.